Heading Towards the Solstice

Dear Liza,

It is getting dark really early here. This coming Saturday will be the Winter Solstice, which is the shortest day (and longest night) of the year. Yesterday, it was pitch dark at 4:30. I am missing those long warm days of summer!

But winter has its own charms. Hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps… snuggling Mousekin by the fire… and the colors I see when I make myself get off the sofa, into three layers of clothes, and into the park.

There are just a few plants that are still green. Out-of-place transplants like magnolias and fuchsias look embarrassed, like they got into the party under false pretenses. Pines and firs keep their needles. Maples and birches drop their leaves in a well practiced dance. And ivy just hangs around, leaves intact, like it hasn’t noticed it is winter. Like if the ivy just ignores it long enough, winter will go away.

And guess what? This strategy works!

Every single year, the winter eventually GOES AWAY! So, I will try to emulate the ivy. Lay low, hunker down, and out last the winter.

Peppermint schnapps will help, I have no doubt.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Solstice Morning

Dear Liza,

Yesterday was the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, the beginning of winter. It was 30 degrees at 8 in the morning. So of course I went for a walk.

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Freezing Fog

Two scarves, sweater, coat, fuzzy hat and gloves made the walking pleasant.

Our own tiny front yard has become soft and green with moss, and this morning it had a frosty white coating on it, so delicate it melted away when I breathed on it. There wasn’t enough water around to freeze puddles, except for a tiny bit near a lamp post.

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Frosty moss

By the time I walked around the neighborhood, the frost was fading.

I noticed this very happy, mossy stepping stone in a yard, not far from some tiny pansies which ares till blooming in spite of the cold. These flowers are tougher than they look.

mossy stepping stone.jpg

 

 

Love,

Grandma Judy

Sushi and Christmas Cookies

Dear Liza,

Yesterday evening I walked over to Auntie Katie’s house. I carried all the ingredients for sugar cookies, thinking the butter would soften on the way. Wrong! It was 45 degrees, about the same temperature as my refrigerator.

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Yama Sushi

Anyway, once I got there, we chatted and mixed the dough, then put it in the actual fridge to chill and be ready to roll. While it was chilling, we wrapped up and walked to Yama Sushi, at SE Clinton and 21st. It is a wide, bright space, decorated with sake barrels and whimsical bits of art and fabric.

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Whimsical decor

We ate as much sushi, scallops, bacon-wrapped peppers and halibut collar as we could hold for $37! Such a deal, and a small glass of sake, as well.

When we got back to Katie’s house, the cookie dough was ready to roll. Katie has a wonderful collection of cookie cutters, some that belonged to your great-grandma Billie, that I remember using when I was a little girl. The dough was very cooperative and we rolled and cut quickly, baking as we went.

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Cookies (and future reading material)

Then we decorated! I have only ever done this when I was a child or when I had a child….either too young or too distracted to do very carefully. It was fun to decide what I wanted a cookie to look like and make it happen.

What a fun evening!

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Ninja bread men cookies!

Today is the first day of winter, called the Solstice. We woke up to a temperature of 30 degrees (that’s two below freezing!) and fog. I put on the regular coat and hat, with two scarves (one for my neck and another for my face) and walked out for a bit.

winter solstice fog.jpg

As they say, there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. I was grateful for the second scarf.

See you soon!

Love, Grandma Judy